Ontario Cemetery Records
Ontario Census Records
Ontario Church Records
Ontario Court Records
Ontario Genealogy Societies
Ontario Immigration Records
Ontario Indian Tribes
Ontario Land and Maps
Ontario Mailing Lists
Ontario Military Records
Ontario Online Books
Ontario Vital Records
Free Genealogy Forms
Family Group Chart
New Genealogy Data
Family Tree Search
Genealogy Books For Sale
FREE Web Site Hosting at
Presbyterianism in Lindsay
Victoria County, Ontario Canada
The Presbyterian church, comes
third in Lindsay in point of seniority
About 1835 itinerant Presbyterian ministers began to
visit the hamlet and preach in one log home or another. Prominent
among these missionaries was a Rev. Mr. Moore, from the Presbyterian
church in Ulster. The number of Presbyterian families increased
during the next decade and in 1845, four years after Father
Fitzpatrick had built his log chapel and the Rev. John Sanderson his
tiny frame Methodist church, the Calvinists determined that they,
too, would have a place of worship. A lot was secured from the
government on the south side of Francis Street about midway between
Cambridge Street and Victoria Avenue, and a log cabin, thirty feet
long by twenty wide, put up on the northwest corner of the property
by a congregational bee. Everything was very primitive. No ceiling
extended below the rafters. The walls were logs, rough hewn and
plastered. Unlike the Catholics, who had provided a rude altar but
no pews, the Presbyterians had at first no pulpit not even a
platform, in fact while the congregation sat comfortably on rough
planks supported on cedar blocks. Some time later Thomas Ray and
Hugh Moore added a low platform and a pulpit and substituted bench
legs for the cedar blocks. The Crown Patent for the church lot was
not secured until November 7, 1848. It was issued by the Earl of
Elgin, then Governor-General of Canada, to a board of trustees
consisting of Samuel Smith, Andrew Hall, Duncan Fisher, John Diment,
and Thomas Ray.
For three years after the building of the church,
the congregation was entirely independent and tended only by
occasional missionaries. In 1848 it was taken in charge by the
United Presbyterian church and connected with the Presbytery of
Durham. The presbytery gave such supply as they could for the next
three or four years but it was not until 1853 that the Rev. Gilbert
Tweedie, a licentiate of the United Presbyterian church, was
ordained and inducted as the first regular pastor in the log church.
His field of labor covered Verulam, Ops, Lindsay, and Mariposa.
Duncan Fisher, formerly an elder at Mount Pleasant, and Thomas Ray,
ordained by Mr. Tweedie, were the first elders.
The Coming of
The congregation was, in its simple way, peaceful
and prosperous ,and if matters had been allowed to go on according
to the hest wishes of the people the Presbyterian church in Lindsay
would have had a very different hlstory for the next few decades.
However, the Caledonian disruption of 1843 ultimately reached
Lindsay and rent the church asunder .Had it not been for
ecclesiastical interference from without, it is extremely doubtful
whether any local differences would have produced the wide
estrangement that afterwards existed. As it was, Mr. Tweedie
resigned in 1855 and several families withdrew from the log church
to form the nucleus of a Free Church body which six years later
became identified with the Canada Presbyterian church. The remainder
of the original congregation continued in connection wtih the Church
of Scotland. Thus, in Lindsay, instead of one united and prosperous
Presbyterian congregation, two small parties struggled along through
For three or four years the Church of Scotland had no regular
services in the log church. In 1859 the Rev. William Johnston was
inducted as their first minister. In 1863, during his pastorate, a
brick church was put up on the Francis Street lot. Mr. Johnston was
succeeded in 1865 by the Rev. J. B. Muir, and on Sunday, November
25, Messrs. Neil McDougall, Thomas Robertson, and Godfrey McPherson
were ordained as elders. Mr. Muir was followed by the Rev. Robert
Dobie, and he in turn, in 1870, by the Rev. J. Allister Murray of
The Canada Presbyterians were likewise without services for some
time after separation. In 1856 Mr. Sharpe, a colporteur, was sent in
by the Canada Presbyterian church to inquire into their state and
prospects. He held some services in the old town hall on Cambridge
Street (now Sinclair's Carriage Works) and in the Episcopal
Methodist church building on Peel Street. In 1863 the congregation
bought the northeast corner of Lot 8 on the south side of Peel
Street, just west of T. A. Fisher's present grocery store, and on it
built a church. Services were given by student missionaries and by
members of presbytery from time to time. Such famous divines as the
Rev. Mungo Fraser and Dr. Gibson preached here in their student
days. Up to 1869 Thomas Ray was the only eIder, but in that year C.
Blackett Robinson, editor of "The Canadian Post," and Dr. Tweedie,
then practising medicine in Lindsay, were added to form a session.
In 1868 the Rev. Mr. Binny was inducted as the first regular pastor.
He remained for five years. Then, in 1873, the Rev. Mr. Hoskins was
called and inducted, but remained only a few months. He was
succeeded in the latter part of the same year by the Rev. E. W.
Panton, who continued as pastor for nearly two years.
Reunited Once More
In 1875 a notable event took place in the history of
Canadian Presbyterianism when on June 15th the two sections of the
church were happily reunited. In accordance with the recommendation
of assembly that wherever there were two weak congregations they
should if possible unite, St. Andrew's church on Francis Street and
the Peel Street church at once proceeded to amalgamate. Both pastors
resigned, and the united congregations became St. Andrew's church,
All now worshipped in the Francis Street building. On June 22, 1876,
the Rev. James Hastie of Prescott became the first pastor of the
unified church. He was succeeded on June 17, 1884, by the Rev.
Daniel McTavish, D. Sc., who was chosen by the congregation even
before his academic course was finished.
The church edifice on Francis Street was now found
to be far too small and new accommodation was sought.
In December 1885 Mr. Wm. Needler offered to donate a site on the
southeast corner of William and Peel Streets and to make cash
subscriptions that would bring his total contribution up to $3000. A
canvass was made through out the congregation, who then totaled 266,
and funds were raised to build an $18,000 church. On June 7, 1886,
the corner stone was laid by Dr. McTavish. A commemorative scroll
was read by Mr. J. R. McNeillie, and an address delivered by the
Rev. G. M. Milligan of Old St. Andrew's, Toronto. A hurricane which
raged throughout the ceremony helped to make the occasion a
memorable one. The church was formally opened .on Jan. 2, 1887, by
Principal Grant, of Queen's University. It was seventy-five feet
long by sixty feet wide and was designed in the style known as
"decorated Gothic." The architect was William Duffus of Lindsay, who
also planned the convent, the Anglican church, and the Collegiate
Institute. The elders at this time were Thomas Ray, James Watson,
John Matthie, John McLennan, James Hamilton, Andrew Robertson and
James R. McNellie. The Francis Street building was now occupied for
many years by public school classes and was demolished in more
recent times to make way for dwelling houses.
In November 1887 a manse was built on the southwest corner of York
and Peel Streets, just behind the church, and was taken over by Dr.
McTavish. On July 11, 1889, he was succeeded by the Rev. Robert
Johnston, B.A., a gold medallist in general proficiency in Arts at
McGill University and a gold medallist also at the Presbyterian
theological college at Montreal. In 1895 the Rev. J. W. McMillan,
B.A., of Vancouver, was inducted. During his ministry, on January
21, 1900, a new Sunday School building of white brick was opened
just north of the church. It was built by John Thorburn of Lindsay
and had a seating capacity of 750.
The Rev. James Wallace, M.A., B.D., M.D., C.M., now of Renfrew,
succeeded the Rev. Mr. McMillan in 1903. The present pastor, the
Rev. F. H. McIntosh, has been in charge since 1915.
There are 1297 Presbyterians in Lindsay.